Organic products are made of materials derived from natural resources. In order for a product to be marketed as “organic”, it must follow specific guidelines set by the government. In the United States, the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances specifies what substances can and cannot be used in the production of organic products.
Because organic processes eliminate harmful chemicals, and leave a smaller carbon footprint than conventional methods, they are a much better choice for your baby. Organic products can include food, clothing and personal care products.
Organic Baby Foods
Organic foods grown in the United States must follow the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP). Fruits and vegetables must be grown without using chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Meat must be derived from animals that haven't been given growth hormones or antibiotics. Artificial preservatives, flavors and colors are also prohibited in the making of organic foods. Without the harmful chemicals, these foods are much healthier for a growing baby. They also contain more nutrients and antioxidants than traditional baby foods.
Be careful about the labels, however. There are three different organic classifications that can be put on food labels.
- 100% Organic – means the food is made completely with organic ingredients.
- Organic – indicates that the ingredients are 95% or more organic.
- Made with Organic – means that 70% or more of the ingredients are organic.
Organic foods cost more than foods produced using traditional methods. Some of the reasons include:
- Because organic farmers don't use herbicides or pesticides, there is much more labor involved in cultivating and weeding the plants as they grow.
- The standard for producing organic crops requires crop rotation.
- Livestock feed made organically is twice as expensive as the non-organic feed.
- The organic certification process required by the USDA is costly and time-consuming.
You can reduce some of the costs involved in buying pre-made organic baby foods by making your own at home. Start with fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Vegetables and hard fruits will need to cut in small chunks, steamed and then pureed in a food processor. Soft fruits, such as bananas, don't require steaming. They can be chopped and put directly into the food processor.
Organic Baby Clothes
Clothes and other textiles that are produced organically are a much safer choice for your baby's sensitive skin. Organic bed linens, such as bedsheets and mattresses, are a wise choice. They eliminate the risk of anything toxic coming in contact with your little one while she sleeps. Organic baby clothing is also recommended since it is made without synthetic dyes, pesticides or other harmful chemicals. The selection of adorable styles and colors made with organic materials is numerous these days.
Be careful when buying cotton clothes for your baby. Clothing made of cotton may sound organic, just from the name. You need to look for 100% organic cotton baby clothes, however, since traditional cotton clothing will have harmful dyes in the fabric. Cotton that is not grown organically is also one of the most heavily treated crops, so clothes made of traditionally-grown cotton will have been sprayed with harsh pesticides and other chemicals.
Organic Personal Care Products for Babies
Traditional personal care products, such as hair and skin care products, contain synthetic ingredients and fragrances that can irritate your baby's skin. Choosing non-toxic and natural baby care products is the only way to go. You can find many organic products for your baby, including body oils, baby wipes, creams and even diaper rash lotions.
Choosing organic products for your baby has never been easier. As more people see the advantages of going organic, the selection has gotten a lot better. Remember to look for 100% organic products to eliminate all harsh ingredients.